It was third time lucky for one Inverness patient who had his knee surgery cancelled last-minute twice before finally being treated.
Now walking well and healing from the surgery, Alister Cameron is looking forward to his first painless Christmas in over 50 years.
Mr Cameron was first scheduled to get his surgery in August, but it was postponed to September due to Covid.
On September 7, he was waiting outside theatre at Raigmore Hospital, fully prepped for the procedure, when he was told it would not be going ahead yet again.
After his story was shared anonymously in The Press and Journal, Mr Cameron received a phone call from his surgeon.
Mr Cameron said: “Following the article in the P&J I got a call inviting me for a meeting with my surgeon.
“He profusely apologised and once again just reiterated that I was a victim of the circumstances that day.
“It was good that he was prepared to meet me face to face to say that, he’s such a good guy, a fantastic surgeon and so particular in everything he does.”
Raigmore Hospital also got in touch with Mr Cameron to offer a formal letter of apology, but he was satisfied after speaking with his surgeon.
The long-awaited procedure finally went ahead smoothly on October 5.
Mr Cameron, who accepts he was a victim of circumstances caused by Covid, said: “I was in at 7am, I was prepped for surgery then I was down in surgery before 8am.
“The op took about 90 minutes, that was the Tuesday, and I was released to the care of my dear wife by the Friday.”
Despite the wait he had to get there, he said he “could not fault” the staff at the hospital.
“My surgery was superb, I could not fault any of the staff, including all the staff in post-op, they were so so good,” he said.
“They need to be encouraged at this time because it’s so hard for them, it’s not them responsible for the cancellations.”
‘It has enormously changed my life’
Mr Cameron competed as a triple jumper when he was in his teens which initially caused his knee injury. Now 71, he has been dealing with the pain for 53 years.
He recently had a check-in with his surgeon, who was amazed by his quick progress.
Mr Cameron said: “I’ve still got knee pain because it’s still healing and it’s going to take a long time to heal because of the trauma, but it’s something I’ll put up with and keep up with the exercise.
“It has enormously changed my life. I’m walking normally, I can walk any distance, I don’t walk with a limp, I don’t use a stick or crutches.”
His wife isn’t quite used to his newfound agility however and was surprised to see him up the ladder putting the Christmas lights up.
But Mr Cameron is thoroughly enjoying his new lease of life and encouraged anyone else who needs elective surgery to push for it.
Imparting some words of wisdom to anyone struggling through difficult times, he said: “You must look to the future,” he said.
“You must look to what you can be and what you want to be. Anyone can be what they want to be as long as they’re strong enough to get through that initial pain.
“Everyone can have a positive outcome, you have to think about what’s at the other end.”